When You’re Selling Transformation, You’re Serving

Originally published here for the Institute of Organizational Mindfulness.

Many that find success and fulfillment in the sales role probably know that they are doing a lot more than selling. On its own, the word “sales” mainly implies a simple monetary exchange: provide a product/service to a customer in exchange for money. What makes that relationship happen in the first place involves so much more than that.

If you’ve ever created a product or learned how to market one, you might have been taught to get inside the head of the people you’d be selling it to. What do they struggle with and how would owning your product alleviate those struggles? How much better does their life look in every way? When you’re taught to market the product, you’re taught not to talk about the object itself but the transformation that it brings to one’s life.

The countless successful marketers and salespeople that look at the process as so much deeper than money-for-a-thing are not thinking about the exchange simply in terms of the typical “selling” principles that grab attention and motivate “buy” impulses. The aspects of sales that imply a long-term connection with customers that are truly grateful for the relationship (rather than just feeling they got “convinced” by a skilled manipulator) are service principles. That’s what you’re really doing when you’re selling with the intent to help people on a deeper level: you’re serving them.

Service is what makes a salesperson a steward of what the company really hopes to provide people. So even if you work in a company where the “service department” is a different entity, it doesn’t render service someone else’s concern. It is inextricably woven into the process of sales. How you make people feel is truly the determinant of your client’s relationship to your brand and that’s determined by the compassion and understanding with which you can respond to their needs – and that’s a service principle. In fact, anyone successful gathering influence in any field will credit that success to how much they were able to be of service to others.

And I’m sure if you’re in sales, you’re already doing a lot of this stuff in practice. What I’m suggesting here may only be a subtle mindset shift – from “I am selling” to “I am serving”. The differences in your success and your own enjoyment of the process will be palpable. You’re shifting from an outcome-oriented mentality of “winning” business, into a process-oriented one that can be fulfilled and inspired by the opportunity to simply show up with readiness to help others. You may see that successful sales is really just success in sharing your love for the process of helping others.